Ready for Football: Seven Tips for a Great Fantasy Season

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Written by:  giantsbook
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Fantasy Smack Talk is one of many YouTube shows giving early advice on the 2015 season.
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Fantasy Smack Talk is one of many YouTube shows giving early advice on the 2015 season.

Get Ready for Fantasy Football

!Sharpen those cleats, deflate those footballs, and get ready to hit the virtual gridiron, fantasy-style: Another NFL season will be here before you know it and fantasy football players need to be prepared. I've been in a fantasy football league for nearly 20 years and I'm always psyched when my beloved New Jersey Tomatoes take their uniforms out of mothballs. 
It turns out you can do a number of things to raise your game to the next level with just a few simple purchases. Here are my top seven tips.

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Read all about it!

1. Prep Your Draft

The key to success in fantasy football starts with the draft. You've got to know your league rules so you know, for instance, if a quarterback is more important than a running back, or if a receiver who catches more balls is more valuable than one who gains more yards.  
Then you need to pair that knowledge with a familiarity with NFL players. Be sure to draw a distinction between one who is great in the NFL but not so hot in fantasy football; Eli Manning, for instance, has won two Super Bowls, but doesn't rack up nearly enough touchdowns to merit a high fantasy draft pick.  
One good way to start your research is with a  magazine. A variety of specialty publications break down the NFL by position, and calculate players' fantasy value. This can change during training camp as players get hurt, rise or fall on the depth chart, or get traded and wind up in different offenses more or less suited to their strengths, but it's a great starting point.

Put some pigskin on your phone.
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Put some pigskin on your phone.

2. Plug In

To stay up to the minute, you'll want to check online to track player movement. You don't want to be the person who wasted a draft pick on someone who'll be missing the first half of the season with an injury or suspension. My league uses ESPN, which naturally has a wealth of information online; Yahoo, CBS, and other sports sites are also excellent. 
A great way to find this information is via the plethora of apps now available from the sites listed above and also from companies like RotoWire and Football Guys. Be sure to  have a  smartphone or tablet to tap into those apps.

"There is no room for second place." -- Vince Lombardi
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"There is no room for second place." -- Vince Lombardi

3. Establish the Stakes

Your league may be about bragging rights; it may even be about winning a tidy sum of money. But either way, everyone loves a trophy—even the real NFL players—and plenty of customizable Lombardi-style trophies are for sale on eBay to give your league some legitimacy. 

Why wear some NFL jersey with some other player's name on it? Strut your stuff!
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Why wear some NFL jersey with some other player's name on it? Strut your stuff!

4. Wear Your Colours

You have a team name. Now it's time to represent. Order a personalized team jersey, complete with your name on the back. Wait until your fellow owners see you show up at the draft in that baby—they may let you have Marshawn Lynch on the spot! 
Poke around; you can find plenty of other ways to personalize your experience, including decals and charm bracelets. If you buy the decals, why not go all in and buy a football helmet, too, and decorate it yourself? Go ahead and get an actualfootball, too—why leave it at just a fantasy? (Comical sidenote: Remember, the rest of the world calls "football" what Americans call "soccer," so when you search for football, you may find more than just the oblong pigskin of your dreams.)

Draft the pros like a pro with a full-color draft kit.
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Draft the pros like a pro with a full-color draft kit.

5. Get a Draft Board

To have an authentic draft for your league, you should get everyone together in the same room (hey, the NFL does) and set up a draft board. Lots of fantasy football draft kits are available online.  The best of these offer decals of all the players you might select, so you can slot them in when they're picked. The finished product also makes a good prize for the eventual league champion.  
If you'd prefer to do it yourself, and have something you can re-use, invest in awhiteboard and get creative. Make sure you have the accessories you need:markers, erasers, an easel, and other items. 

Your guests can fight over who sits at the 50 yard line.
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Your guests can fight over who sits at the 50 yard line.

6. Decorate

If you are getting everyone together for a draft, make it a party! Put up some football-themed decorations. Play   DVDs of NFL highlights  on a  large-screen TV. Or just get a device like a Roku or Apple TV that will get you access to  the NFL network and let the football fly.

Make sure your fellow fantasy owners know who's boss.
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Make sure your fellow fantasy owners know who's boss.

7. Let the Smack Talk Begin!

If you are ready to walk the walk, then start talking the talk. Half the fun of fantasy football is the bragging and posing. Order up some shirts and signs and start telling everyone what you're going to do on any given Sunday. Then hope your players back it up!

Batter up!
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Batter up!

Thanks for reading!

If you liked this guide, please take a look at some of my other guides, many of which are sports-related. I wrote one about how sports fans plug in to technology, one about the most recent NBA playoffs (hail to the Warriors!), and several about baseball, especially my beloved San Francisco Giants (do I need to point out that they are the defending champions as well?). Thanks! 

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